Kryžių kalnas – The Hill of Crosses

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Siauliai, Lithuania

Kryžių kalnas – The Hill of Crosses Siauliai Reviews

rituke rituke
4 reviews
Unique place-the Hill of crosses Jul 12, 2012
"The Hill of Crosses is a monument of people's being and faith. Although this hill is multifarious, but it irradiates with harmony. Located 12 kilometers from Šiauliai, beside the highway and railroad Šiauliai-Ryga, there is a Jurgaičiai (Domantai) hill fort called the Hill of Crosses. By the local people it is also called a hill of prayers, a Hill of Castle, Sacred Hill and Castlehill. The hill has thousands of crosses, brought here not only from various parts of Lithuania, but also from abroad (that is why it is called the Hill of Crosses). Crosses of various sizes will surprise you and make you sombre and serene at the same time. Everything seems to be alive and reminiscent of the past.

In the Christian world this hill was made famous by the visit of pope John Paul II in 1993. The Hill of Crosses is held to be a monument of faith by the Catholic Church believers."

Probably I've been there for 5 times or even more and always bring a small cross with myself (you also can buy it at that place!)The hill has a special atmosphare, it's really worth to visit and to feel a special sprit it has!
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Travel_maniac Travel_m…
3 reviews
Hill of crosses; a truly unique place Apr 21, 2011
The Hill of Crosses is truly a place with a really special athmosphere. located a few hours outside Riga or Vilnius it makes a perfect day trip. Your travel guide or Hostelstaff will give you more detailed infos on options how to get there. Local bus and taxi worked quite well in my case coming from Riga. There are a few Buses getting you to the nearby town Siauliai from where taxis are cheap. Don't waste too much time in the town; there is nothing of interest and conversation is difficult.

There are thousends of crosses on that hill and you are free to add if you want. Some crosses are for the dead, ones, others to apologize for nazi and soviet crimes and others are just there for no particular reason. It is not quite clear why they built it up first but it must have been sometime during the 19th. century. The soviet bulldozed it down about 3 times and shoot pretty much everyone putting up new crosses but this didn't stop the Lithuanians of doing so. Overall, it is a very inspiring place with a lot of history and is certainly worth a visit.
Chokk Chokk
1727 reviews
I was truly amazed by this place in the middle of no-where Jul 26, 2008
The Hill of Crosses (Lithuanian: Kryžių kalnas) is a site of pilgrimage about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai. There are few places like this in every country and reading about the history surrounding the place made me understand the importance of being there if you were a Lithuanian. For me the religious connection wouldn’t matter, this was a place that more than anything else symbolizes the freedom of the Lithuanian people.

I had never heard about this place until I saw the pictures that Ieva (Ewooce) posted on her blog from Marius Jovaisas’s photo album Neregėta Lietuva (Unseen Lithuania). When I looked trough all these wonderful pictures I remembered asking her about a picture from this place and at that moment I decided that I would go there.

Still today I am very happy that I made the trip out there; it was one of these strange and odd things that I never will forget. The exact origins are unknown, but it is considered that the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising. Over the centuries, not only crosses, but giant crucifixes, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. The number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put it at about far beyond 50.000 - 100.000.

Over the centuries, the place has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history. After the 3rd partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire. Poles and Lithuanians unsuccessfully rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863. These two uprisings are connected with the beginnings of the hill: as families could not locate bodies of perished rebels, they started putting up symbolic crosses in place of a former hill fort.

When the old political structure of Eastern Europe fell apart in 1918, Lithuania once again declared its independence. Throughout this time, the Hill of Crosses was used as a place for Lithuanians to pray for peace, for their country, and for the loved ones they had lost during the Wars of Independence.

Most recently, the site took on a special significance during the years 1944-1990, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union. Continuing to travel to the Hill and leave their tributes, Lithuanians used it to demonstrate their allegiance to their original identity, religion and heritage; it was a venue of peaceful resistance. Although the Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses, and bulldozed the site at least three times (including attempts in 1963 and 1973). There were even rumours that the authorities planned to build a dam on the nearby Kulvė River, a tributary to Mūša, so that the hill would end up under water.

On September 7, 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses, declaring it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice. In 2000 Franciscan Hermitage was opened nearby. The interior decoration draws links with La Verna, the mountain where St. Francis received his stigmata. The hill remains under nobody's jurisdiction; therefore people are free to build crosses as they see fit.

When I was there lot of newly married had their wedding picture taken there and I was smiling about it; what a picture to have from your wedding day!
Hill of the crosses
Hill of the crosses
Hill of the crosses
Hill of the crosses
11 / 11 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
very strange place I visited a long time ago(u certainly weren't born!)
Posted on: Apr 06, 2012
nik2blessed says:
his power rules & reigns forever, nothing strange about it! i believe
Posted on: Apr 05, 2012
Chokk says:
Thank you - I truly liked the place - how strange it might sound
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011
festerwretch festerwr…
54 reviews
Dec 30, 2006
Kryžių kalnas – The Hill of Crosses

This hill, which is close to the city of Siauliai, has become the destination for people on religious pilgrimages, all leaving a cross (or other type of religious icon). There are thousands of crosses here (according to Wikipedia, over 55,000). It has been around since the late 1800s, and it turned into a symbol of peaceful resistance against the Soviet Union during the years in which Lithuania was part of USSR. On at least two different occasions Soviet officials attempted to destroy the hill, to no avail.

From a non-religious perspective it’s quite interesting too, as a piece of folk art.
Kryžių kalnas – The Hill of Cr…
Lots of coins
Kryžių kalnas – The Hill of Cr…
A nearby Franciscan hermitage
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
hauteboy hauteboy
102 reviews
Mysterious place Apr 17, 2006
We hired a car to drive from Vilnius to Riga. On the way we stopped at the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai, Lithuania. It was Easter Monday so there were quite a few people visiting the site. The Hill of Crosses is quite a unique place, it had been a sacred place for some time and had been a Christian pilgrimage site for years. During the Soviet period, the officials bulldozed the site twice, yet each time people would come back and place crosses. Now there are millions of crosses, of all shapes and sizes, from tiny 1" ones to ones rising 20'. The crosses have overflowed the hill and now line the path along to the parking lot.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Chokk says:
I really like the place
Posted on: Mar 22, 2011

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